Travis McCready, the US Country singer performed the US’s first licensed live show since the COVID-19 outbreak on Monday.

Devoid of screaming fans, painful queues and standing room only, McCready’s concert was certainly a sterile version of what we used to know as gigs. No doubt this is a positive step forward but for me this poses many questions;

  • How will venues redesign their premises to ensure they remain compliant with regulation and importantly able to get insurance policies?
  • How will the insurance sector strike a balance between additional safety measures in the short term but without incurring major costs for their clients in the long term?
  • How will the insurance sector decide where to set the level of risk threshold and the necessary controls?
  • And how will the insurance sector react to keeping employees safe? Will they be required to sign a liability waiver? See Nigel Walsh's recent post here

To this point, there have been reports that a number of people contracted COVID-19 following the Cheltenham Festival, Six Nations and the subsequent effect of the 3,000 Atletico Madrid fans in Liverpool for the Champions League.

Whilst it is unclear whether there was a direct link with COVID-19, it does present a stark warning to events organisers, concerts and stadiums that relevant and timely risk assessments need to be carried out prior to crowds returning to normality.

Technology will likely play a central role in controlling the risk for spectators and it is brilliant to see a wide variety of technology firms working to potentially provide COVID-19 safe venues for both spectators, employees and players.

  • Bleenco are developing thermal imagery to detect fever and common COVID-19 symptoms. (One of sixteen start-ups selected for Plug and Play InsurTechs inaugural batch in Munich 2018). 
  • Rokid, an exciting Chinese technology company who have developed Rokid T1 thermal glasses which can detect temperatures of up to 200 people within 2 minutes. 
  • Onfido and SideHide are working to develop immunity passports to potentially ensure the safe movement of spectators across borders.
  • Vivotek are enabling businesses to comply with social distancing regulations and maintain maximum occupancy as well as a safer and healthier environment during COVID-19. 

As the sports and entertainment sector looks to ascertain the risks associated with running events, it provides an excellent opportunity for the insurance industry to help drive the controls needed to protect spectators and stadiums, a true view on prevention as opposed to cure. Perhaps we will see the insurance sector work more closely with innovative technology companies to provide risk prevention?